CBDs May Not Be As Legal As You Think

UPDATE: Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp is now legal to cultivate, provided it is cultivated in compliance with a state or tribal regulatory program. Hemp has also been removed from the Controlled Substances Act and from the definition of marijuana. That being said, the status of CBDs derived from hemp is still in doubt. And to be specific, as stated below, it is illegal to sell consumable products that contain CBDs (for example, seltzer water, beer, wine, food) or make health claims about products containing CBDs. In addition, due to the uncertain status of CBDs, companies that sell CBD products may have difficulty finding banking services.

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There may be regulations on how CBDs can be sold. For example, Indiana has a very strict product labelling law. CBD products must bear a QR code, which when scanned directs the consumer to detailed information, including the product’s batch number, expiration date, ingredients, and independent lab analysis. CBD products sourced from another state with a Farm Bill program may not be packaged properly for sale in Indiana. Retailers who fail to comply face fines of up to $10,000, and could lose their retail license.

Another state-specific wrinkle is California. While medical and adult-use marijuana are now legal in California, the state Department of Public Health has ruled that CBDs, even if sourced from industrial hemp, cannot be added to any food or beverage product, whether for human or pet consumption. So forget about that CBD beer, or chewing gum.

Note, also, that the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken the position that it is illegal to “introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any food (including any animal food or feed) to which THC or CBD has been added.” Consequently, while the DEA may not pursue sellers of food/beverage products containing CBDs, the FDA is another matter. The FDA also has sent cease and desist letters to CBD manufacturers and sellers that have made medical claims about CBD products.

If you’re confused, don’t feel bad. It’s very confusing. The bottom line is, if you are going to be involved in this industry, whether legal cannabis or CBDs, make sure you do your homework.